Tanja and Rafa travelled to Croatia to find the perfect island getaway for their destination wedding: they married on Vis island, a two and a half hour boat journey from the town of Split. A unspoiled paradise, the island had been a military base for many years and closed to tourists. As a result of this seclusion, it resisted over-development and mass tourism and remained a simple and authentic fishing and winemaking paradise. More details on the day from Tanja below, but first here’s their beautiful celebration as captured by One Day Studio.

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THE DESTINATION: CROATIA

“Rafa and I wanted an intimate and relaxed wedding, under a blue sky, surrounded by trees, sea and closest family and friends. As we had many guests traveling from abroad (from 19 different countries!) we decided to make it into a little holiday getaway and sail everyone onto an island. Vis island is one of those well-kept Adriatic secrets. A peaceful oasis of raw, unspoiled natural beauty and rich history, worlds away from the tourist hustle and bustle, it was perfect for our little circus of love! One of the first things you see when you sail into bay of Vis is a small, gorgeous peninsula with a church and a Franciscan monastery from the 16th century. This is where we got married: inside the walls of the little stone church of Saint Jere, built on the remains of an ancient Roman theatre.We kept the church very simple and romantic, with colourful wildflowers tied around benches and candles covering the stone floor leading up to the altar. We managed to find a lovely Colombian priest living in a tiny village deep inside the Dalmatian hinterland. We talked him into coming with us to the island and performing the ceremony in half Spanish, half Croatian. This was a surprise for all guests, especially our Colombian family who were in disbelief when don Carlos started the ceremony in local Colombian accent. Rafa and I said our vows in both languages, which was a nice gesture and was appreciated by our families (as mine speaks only Croatian, and Rafa’s only Spanish).

THE VENUE & DIY DETAILS

We knew immediately after seeing Fort George that it was where we wanted to hold our wedding celebration. An absolutely magical 200 year old medieval English fort, the venue was built on a hill, hidden behind thick pine trees. Located about  three kilometers from the town of Vis, it overlooks nearby islands with endless breathtaking views of the Adriatic sea. On top of the fort is a massive stone floor terrace where we had our welcome reception where we served finger food, our homemade “rakija” aperitif drinks with Klapa singing. Later on, the guests moved to the garden, a beautiful green patio under the starlight and pine trees. The center point of the venue is an incredible drained stone pool that we used as a dance floor. In the corner of the dance floor we placed a small children’s play area with carpet, coushins, toys and personalised colour books for every child. When we did the seating chart we realized we have 12 tables, which is exactly the number of the countries that Rafa and I visited in the last 2 years together as a couple. So we named tables as countries, and we left everyone a special thank-you note in 3 languages, with a temporary tattoo of our names / portrait . We tried to customize and hand-make most of the things for the wedding, so that every single item carries a bit of our energy in them. My parents found an old man from a village close to Split that makes organic bramble honey, which is very rare and unique for this part of the world. So we bought little jars and filled them with this delicious honey and walnuts. Later on, my maids of honour spent hours labelling the jars and covering them with colourful tops. “Love sweet as honey” jars were given to every guest as a wedding favour. My brother hand carved a gorgeous wooden little chest for us to keep all the wedding advices and cards in. My maid of honour hand made the Thank-you sign hanging from it. My maids of honour bought colourful tissue paper out of which they cut hundreds of long ribbons, and left them hand between two trees. This was such an impactful and beautiful image!

A PERFECT DAY

The place we married was so incredibly romantic, bohemian and full of soul and a beautiful energy- we both left a bit of our hearts there. We were blessed with beautiful weather and a stunning dark red sunset that went straight in the sea… absolutely amazing. Honestly, it did look and feel like a fairy-tale! I keep replaying the image of entering through the stone hallway covered with red carpet, the pianist playing “All You Need is Love”, and us walking under the green leafy arches, hand in hand with my prince. I truly felt like I was living my own fairy-tale.”

Photography & Videography: One Day Studio | Reception Venue: Fort George Croatia | Bride’s Dress: Novia d’Art | Groom’s suit: Ted Baker | Tie: Hound London | Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS | Jewlery: Local jewlery maker from Split | Shoes: Startas | Flowers: Cvjecarnica | Music: Local music– Klapa, Band: Chasing Milagros | Cakes: Bride’s aunts and local baker Djeni

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